Almost a year ago, I embarked on a journey to improve my health and fitness. This was needed after a long layoff due to a neck injury that ballooned my waist to 35 inches, and left me out of shape.
I needed a diet and exercise program that was safe, effective and able to be done at home with minimal equipment and expense. My results were better than expected and I continue to tweak my program for even better results.
In my last blog I went over the exercise portion I did during phase one. For this post, I would like to cover my diet changes. I am guessing that the diet portion is about 80% of reason you will lose weight. For exercise, you could get by with walking about two-three hours per week. Say 20 minutes per night for six days and one day take a nice 30-60 minute walk. Bring your tunes and get some thinking done.
My goal with the diet was to not only feel good, but to get my waist back to what it was in college and shrink my body fat % to 12% during phase one and below 10% in phase two. I wanted to see if a guy over 50 could actually develop a six pack without starvation, $500 a month in supplements, expensive diets, joining a health club or hiring a fitness trainer.
Most guys have picked up a copy of a Men’s Fitness magazine with a cover story on “how to get six pack abs.” Nothing says a guy is in shape like a cut mid-section. Have you tried the recommended workouts and come out with nothing but a little muscle soreness? I have and you feel like it is impossible or people must cheat somehow to get them.
I have never been really over weight by much, but even at 150 pounds I could only see a vague outline of an abdominal region. The worst part is that every year it seemed like it was even harder to get there. You hear about the pull of gravity, and the inevitable spare-tire that comes with getting old. I didn’t want to give up. Here’s a link LINK to a site showing the various body fat % levels. Getting below 10% is where you get to the “excellent” level – the level where you can really see your abs well. My endeavor has had two phases. I will do each in separate blog posts. Here is my phase one.
Phase one was all about getting rid of the easy fat, improving what I was eating and cutting out a lot of carbs. I can’t say I was good 100% of the time, but I was fairly disciplined from July-September, 2012 with my eating (about twelve weeks).
Cutting out carbs (or I should say cutting down on carbs) was very difficult for me. Some things like cereal were not bad. Pizza and buns were a tough give up. I gave up eating pasta, breads, cereals, sweets and rice. I kept potatoes, green vegetables and some fruit. Every meal consisted of a protein source and a veggie or two.
I did not want to do a lot of calorie counting, nor spend a lot of time doing food prep. I’ve done that before and it just adds to diet dread. Also my family was not going to go on the diet with me, so I was on my own for cooking.
I decided to at least track what I was eating for the first couple of weeks as I didn’t have a clue what my totals were. I used an Iphone app called “MyFitness Pal” to track what I ate. It has a large database of food items you can look up or you can just scan the bar code of the can or box with your Iphone and it will automatically enter the totals for you…simple. After a few weeks of using this I was able guess pretty closely what I was eating as far as protein, fat, carbs, and calories. The proof is in the pudding, or in not eating the pudding. If you’re losing weight or inches, you’re doing something right. If not, you’re doing something wrong, so cut some more calories or carb grams and try again.
I only ate three meals per day and tried to keep my carbs between 25 grams and 75 grams per day. Believe me the grams add up fast and the first couple of weeks are rough. You become irritable and it’s hard to sleep, but then you get used to it.
This is what I did for twelve weeks and it brought me down to a 31 inch waist and 12% body fat…pretty easily too. I stayed there until April, 2013 (phase two is moving me lower). The holidays and winter weather were the main contributors to my stagnation.
In my next blog, I will discuss my phase two diet which I have been on since April, 2013. This is the diet I’m hoping to take me below 10% to around 8%. This is where you finally get to see your abs in all their glory.